As you are all aware the Lib Dems are members of a rainbow group at the County Council comprising of 5 LD's, 3 Green and 4 Ind. We did have an extra Ind. member but he decided to jump ship during the year to the Conservatives, I think he was worried about losing his seat at the forthcoming elections. We are now led by the Green Cllr Elfrede Bramley-Crawshore as has been our policy we have changed leadership every year, she took over from Penny Otton who is now her Deputy. I must admit we continue to punch well above our weight and are really the most effective opposition, although Labour are the official opposition they have proved sadly lacking at times.
It's been a very strange calendar year for local government as a whole, thanks, obviously to Covid19.
Babergh (and Mid Suffolk) took a major support role during lockdown. There were a few teething problems with the emergency phone line, especially as staff were grappling with new systems needed for working from home. The Suffolk CC IT servers struggled to cope with new and enormous demands on capacity. Once things were sorted, I really believe the council functioned rather well. Virtually all staff were allocated to totally new roles, whilst a handful moved into specific roles to deal with the immediate crisis, or the potential recovery - as and when - or keeping the day job afloat. Bin collections were maintained except for a month without the brown wheelies being emptied. All council meetings were suspended initially.
In these uncertain times our AGM had to be held on Zoom. Bryn gave athe following address
Firstly, welcome everyone to our first and hopefully last, virtual meeting of this South Suffolk Lib Dem AGM. I say hopefully last, because this is not somewhere that we would wish to be for another year as the cost in lives and general well-being of all is untenable and unsustainable.
David Wood the Liberal Democrat Suffolk Councillor for Peninsular has just posted an update of actions underway at the Couny Council. You can see his full report here https://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/page/latest-news-from-suffolk-councillor-david-wood
To read the article, click local news / Peninsular division
Wth the Covid 19 lockdown still in place Bryn Hurren the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Box Vale gives an update on what is happening locally. Please go to https://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/page/latest-news-from-councillor-bryn-hurren
One of our local members writes regularly to our local MP about issues of the day. Whilst not everything written necessarily reflects Party policy, it nonetheless is an interesting commentary on current events. His other letters can be found at https://www.dearjames.uk/
It was all so well planned. There would be warning ads and commemorative coins to celebrate October 31st when Boris would win his great prize. But it was not to be. Haven't we been here before? Anyone remember Mrs May?
Instead, last week we saw Boris visiting hospitals or sitting, out-sized in mini-sized chairs, in primary schools. In the hospitals he is jacket-less and wears the regulation, rolled up sleeves while his efforts to summon up the energy to speak to the staff and patients are betrayed by a look of desperation bordering on bemusement. You can sense his minders somewhere out of camera saying, 'Come on Bojo. Bear up! One last push!' In the schools he is more smartly dressed as he strains to show interest amongst the chalk and crayons to the eager young eyes that look up to this strange figure from a place called Westminster. Young eyes not yet old enough to see the emptiness of his presence and the guile of his intentions. For Boris is in election mode even as on Friday he cancelled his Commons Liaison Committee appearance for the third time. Like Cummings, already in contempt for failing to answer a summons to appear before a select committee, Boris does not see himself as accountable to parliament but only to himself. He must be seen to be Prime Ministerial even if it is just to primary school kids and grateful NHS patients.
Boris is now in full survival mode, James. As the 'Do or Die' deadline approaches, (4 days 12 hours, thirty minutes and twenty seconds) Bojo has lost his mojo and knows he must distract the population from the failure of his bling and bluster strategies of the last three months. The thing to remember is that politics, to Boris, is all about game playing. For him, life is a sport and sport is about moving the pieces, deceiving the opposition, doing whatever it takes to win. He does not know what it means to be responsible other than being responsible to himself alone. Boris is of a type. Born to rule those around him, he is Trump, he is Dutarte, he is Mussolini. The man is genetically and profoundly autocratic. Life is to be played and the reward is position and adulation. Except that these things are now disappearing before his eyes. Boris is in deep trouble.
On Friday he was insisting that he had won approval for his 'new deal'. He had not. It was only a Second Reading. Parliament had insisted on much more time to scrutinize the deal and he had refused to timetable it and had therefore 'paused' the operation. What was he afraid of? The detailed scrutiny that would have demolished the 'deal' which avoided the previous Irish Backstop by effectively cutting Northern Ireland off from the UK? Now, instead, Boris was demanding an election on December 12th. Except that he had long ago engineered his own minus 45 seat minority in that parliament and so Parliament would not play ball. What rotters! What bounders! The whole lot of them should be defenestrated forthwith!
So for the moment Boris continues to hold on to the threat of a no-deal exit until the EU decides this week on the exact length of an extension to Article 50. If you don't accept an election, said the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, the government would simply 'go on strike' and lay motions "again and again" until other parties agree to go to the polls. You can see the picture, Parliament is blocking Boris's deal. MPs are the scoundrels in a 'Zombie Parliament'. To quote Geoffrey Cox. 'Parliament is dead'!
Parliament is not dead. It is very much alive and kicking. Boris is swinging in the breeze. Whatever trust he had, has gone. Yesterday the FT revealed a leak showing the UK government willing to consider divergence from EU standards on labour rights despite the EU's requirement for a level playing field. Another deception. Like his attempt at a five week prorogation of parliament, like his three day 'scrutiny of his 'new deal', like his abandonment of the DUP - the list of betrayals goes on.
So as Boris pulls the ads, junks the coins and, in schoolrooms and NHS wards around the country, sits out the dying hours of his 'do or die' strategy, I have one question for you James. Would you trust Boris Johnson with your kids or doctors, let alone your nation?
I wouldn't. And neither would the vast majority of responsible people in our country.
Such a pity!